Common Law Marriage in Arkansas: A Comprehensive Guide

Common Law Marriage in Arkansas

Common law marriages have varying rights and obligations depending on the jurisdiction, but they usually include property rights, spousal support, and inheritance rights. Although Arkansas has never allowed a common-law marriage, the state will still recognize one due to the numerous common-law marriage requirements governing international weddings.

The subject of common-law marriage in Arkansas mostly concerns couples who relocated there and desired recognition of their union by their new state. To determine if common-law marriage is possible in Arkansas, this article will examine the available choices.

Common Law Marriage: What Is It?

Informally referred to as sui iuris or informal marriage, common law marriage describes a kind of partnership in which a couple cohabitates in a manner akin to marriage without getting a marriage license or holding a formal ceremony. Put differently, it is a marriage that is accepted only based on the parties’ shared consent and living arrangements.

British common law, which held that a pair would be deemed legally married if they lived together for a specific amount of time and presented themselves as such, is the source of common law marriage. Some US states, like Arkansas, now recognize common-law marriage as a legitimate alternative for couples unable or unwilling to enter into a traditional marriage.

Arkansas Common Law Marriage: Qualifications and Eligibility

There are prerequisites that you must fulfill to pursue a common-law marriage in Arkansas. The ability to become lawfully married is the most important requirement for both you and your partner. You must meet certain requirements, including being of legal age (18 years old or older), single, and not related to someone else (e.g., siblings or first cousins).

You also need to have lived together in the state of Arkansas for a specific amount of time and intend to get married. In Arkansas, common law marriage does not have a predetermined duration; nevertheless, certain aspects might be taken into account, such as the length of time you have been living together, how you conduct yourself as a couple in public, and how you divide your assets and money.

Common law marriages may necessitate proof such as shared bills, joint bank accounts, or witness statements. Remember that you need to fulfill certain legal requirements to be in a common-law marriage; just living together or being in a love relationship is not enough.

Common Law Marriage’s Legal Repercussions in Arkansas

Although it could appear like a more straightforward option, it’s crucial to understand the legal ramifications and restrictions of common-law marriage. The legal rights and obligations of a common-law couple in Arkansas are equivalent to those of a legally recognized marriage, meaning that they enjoy the same privileges and obligations under the law.

One significant distinction is that should the couple choose to dissolve their union, a common-law marriage does not necessitate a legal divorce. Rather than requiring judicial action, they can just split up and go their separate ways. This does not, however, imply that property distribution, spousal maintenance, and other potential legal concerns in the case of a breakup do not apply to common-law marriages.

Common law marriage also does not grant all of the advantages of regular marriage, including survivor’s benefits and Social Security. The pair must complete additional qualifying standards and have a legal marriage certificate to be eligible for these benefits.

Alternatives to Common Law Marriage in Arkansas

Common-law marriages are illegal in Arkansas unless you can prove they took place in another state. As a result, you need to know your alternatives if you want to wed the love of your life. This article discusses the main substitute for Arkansas’s common law marriage system.

A cohabitation agreement in Arkansas is a legal document that specifies the rights and obligations of two individuals who have decided to live together. Arkansas law normally prohibits cohabiting couples from having the same rights as married couples. But with the creation of a cohabitation agreement, this is now possible.

The marital property laws of Arkansas do not apply to cohabiting unmarried people, regardless of the length of their relationship. Usually, this has to do with dividing up possessions gained while jointly living. The property of unmarried cohabiting partners is not subject to legal regulation, in contrast to married couples.

Even while cohabitation permits joint property ownership, there can be substantial challenges in separating the assets should the relationship terminate. Furthermore, the spouse who is more financially dependent may find a separation more challenging in a cohabiting partnership because they have no financial obligations.

Domestic Partnerships vs. Common Law Marriage

It’s critical to understand that domestic partnerships and common-law marriage are not the same. Domestic partnerships, referring to cohabiting unmarried couples, often involve a legal structure providing advantages and safeguards to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

Though several counties and communities in Arkansas have approved municipal rules for domestic partnership registration, the state does not recognize domestic partnerships.
However, these agreements could not have the same legal standing as conventional marriage or common law marriage; thus to fully understand their rights and obligations, couples might need to consult with a lawyer.

In summary:

In Arkansas, common-law marriage is acceptable; however, there can be criteria for eligibility and supporting documentation. Seeking advice from a family law expert can help you safeguard assets and interests, make educated decisions regarding your relationship, and comprehend your legal rights and obligations.

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